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GB celebrates first Olympic medal on snow
Sunday February 9, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

Jenny Jones has won bronze in the snowboard slopestyle. It is the first time Great Britain has ever won a medal on snow. So how did she manage it and what does it mean for UK snowsports? PlanetSKI reports.

Sunday was a very, very special day for UK snowsports and snowboarding as Jenny Jones took the bronze medal.

Since it was placed round her neck she has not let it out of her sight - she slept with it under her pillow on Sunday night.

After she had celebrated with a glass of champagne.

She has been clutching her medal tightly as she continues the round of media interviews on Monday.

Speaking to the BBCSpeaking to the BBC









Her pride and joyHer pride and joy










She had already made it all over the front pages.

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The 33-year old is a three times X-Games gold medalist.

She has been one of the best in the world for many years. 

Some though feared she was past her best and an Olympic medal was beyond her reach. She was the oldest in the final by 6 years.

It made no difference and in fact her experience helped her in the heat of competition. She went for caution and perfect excecution, instead of trying to go as big as possible.

She took the bronze medal and it is a fabulous result as her career draws to an end.

Her triumph has been celebrated back in the UK and her Twitter followers alone have gone up for 8,000 to 55,000 - a sign of the interest in her achievement.

Her photo is on many of the front pages.

Our medal girlOur medal girl












She was first for a while in the event and she looked ecstatic as her points came through after her second run.

First for a whileFirst for a while











It was a long wait as the other riders came down.

"It was so difficult waiting but I knew I had done my best and it was all out of my control," said Jenny Jones afterwards. "I am so happy.... I can't believe it."

First she was toppled off the top spot by the Finnish rider, Enni Rukajarv, and then Jamie Anderson from the USA.

Jenny Jones hung on to take the bronze.

Jenny JonesJenny Jones









"I'm so pleased, I'm just amazed at the situation that I'm in. I feel so proud to get on the podium. A few said 'is she past it?' but I did what I could and, thankfully, it got me on there. I gave myself a lot to do having to come through the semi-finals but I just tried to keep focussed and keep my game head on," she said after winning her medal.

"I feel absolutely ecstatic, I'm just so chuffed to have made it onto the podium. I knew I'd drop down because there were so many girls to come but it was just a question of how far. When the last girl went and I realised she'd missed the rail, I thought, 'oh my goodness I've made it'," she added.

Or, as she said on Facebook - "Aaahhhhhh !! Did I just get bronze at the friggin Olympics!!"

She made it through the semi-finals on Sunday morning and then triumphed in the finals.

Dream come trueDream come true










Smiles all roundSmiles all round












Her mother and father were in the crowd along with other members of the GB freestyle team.

Cheering onCheering on











She was re-united with her parents on BBC TV after the event.

She prefers them to not to watch her when she is competing, but they came anyway.

See here for her BBC interview after taking bronze and then being re-united with her parents live on television. Great TV!

Congratulations have been pouring in for Jenny.

"This is a fantastic accomplishment for Jenny and a great moment for our entire delegation.  Jenny will go down in the record books as the first-ever member of Team GB to win an Olympic medal in a snow sport.  There is a strong spirit of camaraderie and support across our entire delegation, and I know every member of Team GB is proud of Jenny and delighted to see her have this special moment," said the Chef de Mission of Team GB, Mike Hay.

"Huge CONGRATS to Jenny Jones - amazaballs!" said the ex-GB racer and BBC commentator, Emma Carrick-Anderson, on Facebook.

Britain's most succesful alpine skier, Konrad Bartelski, added his praise.

"So excited for Jenny - all that she has been through and to stick it out for The Games and get the recognition that she so deserves. Being such a successful X-Games athlete and yet much of that went unnoticed, beyond the sport. Jenny is a true champ!" said Konrad Bartelski.

The former member of the GB alpine ski team, Amanda Pirie, wathced it all.

"Wooohooo Jenny Jones you are amazing! Team GB Olympic medal on snow - nice one!!! Slopestyle is such an exciting event to watch, love it!" said Amanda.

Jenny Jones has a fairytale story - see here for a longer PlanetSKI look at her career and lifestory. 

She used to work as a chalet girl in the French resort of Tignes in her early 20s and that is where she developed her skils, techniques and passion for snowboarding.

She became a pro-snowboarder and as the sport grew went on to win three X-Games gold medals. 

She is one of the most popular riders on the circuit, though at 33-years old some thought she was past her best.

She has overcome recent injury to be at the Sochi Winter Olmpics and she has walked away with a medal.

The first ever on snow for Team GB.

So, what impact will the medal have on UK snowsports?

It has been a long, long wait for the first medal on snow since the first Winter Olympics at Chamonix back in 1924.

Briefly Alain Baxter won a bronze for Great Britain at the slalom in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

However he was disqualified after a banned substance was in his body, methamphetamine B. 

He had taken it by accident from a Vicks nasal inhaler and, though his name was later cleared, the medal was not re-instated.

His brother, Noel Baxter, has congratulated Jenny on her performance and her achievement.

"It was very special to see you win YOUR medal today. A true story of hard work and determination against all of the odds. Personally, it won a little bit of Alain Baxter's medal back for me. I am proud to say I was there to watch you both in person," said Noel.

This medal for Jenny Jones will have a big affect on snowboarding and snowpsorts in the UK.

"I hope kids can go out and get inspired and have the life that I have," said the slopestyle snowboarder, Jamie Nicholls, who came 6th in the men's event in Sochi.

Extra funding will now come the way of our snowboarding athletes and there is much strength in depth in the team with Aimee Fuller and others coming through.

"These are the foundations of a serious change in the sport in the UK," said the BBC commentator, Ed Leigh.

Funding is critical to elite sporting success and a more professional approach was started by Colin Moynihan after Vancouver 2010.

He was appointed chairman of British Ski and Snowboard in 2010.

He set up a modern, performance based governing body after the old one, Snowsport GB, went bankrupt. We reported on its demise at the time on PlanetSKI.

The new strategy was to support the athletes that were on paths to podiums, and the discipline they were in was irrelevant.  It was all about winning medals.

This has caused debate as disciplines such as alpine skiing receive no money as it is not deemed a GB athlete has a good chance of making the podium.

However others, judged with better chances, have done well; freestyle skiing and snowboarding is one such discipline.

Medical support was put in place for those injured - this helped the injured athletes to get back on track and has certainly helped Jenny Jones who broke her ankle last July.

Her medal will undoubtedly have a huge impact and the UK snowsports industry has prepared for it.

An initiative, Go Ski Go Board, has been touring the indoor and dry slopes of the UK to promote snowboarding and skiing.

It is an initiative organised by the Snowsports Industries of Great Britain, an umbrella group that promotes UK snowsports - we reported on it here.

Winning an Olympic medal costs money. Alot of money.

UK Sport invested £264m over a 4 year period for the GB summer athletes. With 65 medals won at London 2012 that works out at around £4m per medal. 

The one Jenny Jones won has cost £1.5m.

We will be updating this story with further rection and what it means for Team GB and British snowboarding so do check back.

Here is an assessment on the morning after the weekend before.

Well done Jenny and everyone that has helped her reach that podium! Smile

For an interview we did with her at PlanetSKI when she won gold at The X Games in Tignes in 2010 then see this PlanetSKI story from the time.

Jenny Jones on the Sochi podiumJenny Jones on the Sochi podium










For the spirit of the mountains

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